The deadline to submit qualifying offer to Restricted Free Agents is today at 3 p.m. MDT, and if they don’t send out an offer by 3 p.m., then those players will become Unrestricted Free Agents. The Oilers RFAs include:  Andrew Cogliano, Ladislav Smid, Theo Peckham, Taylor Chorney, JF Jacques, Zack Stortini and Ryan O’Marra.

Obviously they will qualify  Peckham, Smid and Cogliano. Smid and Cogliano can be qualified at their contracts from last season, $1.4 million and $1 million respectively. Peckham will be qualified at a 10% raise from the $550,000 he made last season.

Keep in mind that the player and team don’t have to agree to the qualifying number. All it does is guarantee that the Oilers maintain the rights to the player, and they can negotiate with that player for the remainder of the summer.


Chorney is a good depth defender, but I don’t ever see him becoming a regular NHLer. Look for the Oilers to qualify him with the required 10% increase, just because they need depth on their blueline. He probably gets a one-year contract.

O’Marra is also a depth centre, who is okay in the faceoff dot and has worked hard at becoming more consistent the past few seasons. The Oilers want and need depth in the organization so look for him to get qualified, and eventually sign a one-year deal.

Zack Stortini would need to get qualified at $880,000, and it would have to be a one-way contract, because he had a one-way last season. He wasn’t a late-season call up when the injury bug hit, and he was a healthy scratch in their first playoff game in the AHL. He did dress for every game after that, and contributed as a role guy, but it seems very unlikely that the Oilers will qualify him. I got the sense that Tom Renney had lost faith in him last year. If he was coming off a two-way deal, they’d sign him because they need some toughness in the organization, but I suspect they will let him sign elsewhere.

Jacques is the most interesting candidate on the list. The Oilers don’t have a lot of size in the minors, but Jacques can’t stay healthy. Jacques would need to be qualified at just over $675,000 and it would have to be a one-way contract. He wouldn’t be expensive, but will the Oilers take another flyer on him?

I don’t think they will. They will try and replace him with a similar player, who they feel can play the entire season.


Once they decide on their RFAs, then they have three UFAs to consider. Jason Strudwick, Jim Vandermeer and Steve MacIntyre currently don’t have deals. They won’t re-sign Strudwick, and if he doesn’t sign with another team, they would love to have him work in some capacity in the organization.

This won’t be popular with some fans, but I don’t think they will bring MacIntyre back. He likely is the toughest player in the league, but the list of guys willing to fight him is shrinking by the day, so how important is to have the reigning champ if no one will fight him? Renney only gave him an average of 3:32 TOI per game last year, which shows me he doesn’t trust Big Mac as a player.

Renney has a track record of playing tough guys for 8-10 minutes a night, and in New York he trusted his 4th line a lot. He didn’t trust his 4th line last season — excluding Ryan Jones who played there and on 2nd and 3rd lines– and I don’t see how that has changed since the season ended.

Vandermeer is the most likely to return. He was solid in the second half of the season, but he was invisible in the first half. If he would agree to a one-year deal around $1- $1.2 million I think the Oilers would consider bringing him back. If they don’t have MacIntyre, Strudwick, Jacques and Stortini they will need Vandermeer’s toughness.

There aren’t many UFA D-men who are  as tough as Vandermeer. Steve Montador would be the closest, but I suspect he’ll get close to double the money of Vandermeer. Montador has been an even or a plus player the past six years, and he’s tallied four straight 20+ point seasons. I’d take him over Vandermeer, but I’m not sure the Oilers could get him.

Do they risk testing the free agent waters and coming up empty and then hope Vandermeer is still available, or do they play it safe and sign him before Friday?

I’m a bit of a risk-taker so I’d try it. Would you?

If they strike out, I think they’d still be able to sign Vandermeer, it just might cost them an extra $100,000 or so.


The Oilers HAVE NOT qualified JF Jacques. He will become an unrestricted free agent. I’ll look into the rest.

It is official, Zack Stortini also wasn’t qualified. He will test the market.

  • D-Man

    I’m glad the Oilers took a pass on JFJ.. If he was healthy – I’d love to have him on our 4th line – but there’s too much risk… I hope Tambo can sign Konopka, but I’m wondering what he’ll be offered elsewhere… Washington gave Brooks Laich a slight overpay ($27 million over 6 years – IMO, he’s worth $22.5 million)..I’m just wondering if that contract will force GM’s to get into bidding wars…

    I’d love Konopka in Copper and Blue this year, but for no more than $1.5 million….

          • Katz will try to get his end of the arena deal from team via profits, or at least enough cash to secure financing.

            I don’t think he’s cheap, but he’s also not going to spend money that doesn’t get him anything with the team as it is right now.

            Buying another good player on say a 3 year deal will cost at least 9 mil, and we’ll still be bad, likely still out of the playoffs which at least would offset some of it.

            That’s a lot of cheddah to waste, and rich guys are rich because they don’t waste money.

            We’ll likely see increased spending as the team amps up, I hope anyways.

          • D-Man

            And yet the fans still keep coming… This issue won’t come to hurt the Katz group until we start seeing empty seats on a regular basis…

            I do think though, even with this ‘discount roster’ – we’ll see a 5 game win improvement.. We’ll win 30 games in the upcoming season due to the improvements in Hall/Eberle & co. I believe 30 wins will place us about 27th overall.

            If the summer of Steve part deux is successful and we can sign another solid defencemen for our top 4 and get Konopka (or a player of a similar ilk) – we’ll win another 3 to 5 pushing us to around 24th/25th overall…

            My question.. Can ON live with this under the assumption we’ll be pushing for the playoffs in 2012-2013??

          • MrCondor

            I don’t think we should spend a lot of cash until we figure what Hall, Eberle and MPS are worth. If they all come out like gang busters there could be near 18 million in those 3, or could be as low as 12-15 million.

            Players of quality are hardly ever game for signing a 2 year contract.

            Lots to consider.

    • Now that Smyth is back the curse will have been lifted and Hemsky will be healthy. Everything is better now. Depth at the forward position is not far away.

      Now all we have to do is cure that gangrenous limb we call our defense corps and goaltending.

        • D-Man

          Souray had an awful year in the AHL last year and couldn’t stay healthy… I think Tambo made this issue too personal; although I do like the move, how it was handled was atrocious…

          There’s too much pride involved on both ends; I can see Souray being bought out and signed for $2.0 to $2.5 million elsewhere… Poor asset management on this one…

  • If you are asking would I take Laich at his new contract or Gagner at his current contract, I take Laich. I don’t feel that Gags is over or under paid. For what he brings, it is just about the right amount. He doesn’t kill penalties (or very rarely ~25min in 10-11), he can’t win draws regularly, he doesn’t have good speed and he can’t win a puck battle. On the plus side, when in the offensive zone he has good vision, passes well and knows how to read the play. Unfortunately, a 42pt, small, soft centre with a sub .500 FW% isn’t going to fetch a lot of value on the market, IMO.

    The Oilers aren’t at the cap nor should it present future cap issues, so I’ll take the better player in Laich if this was a choice for me to make.

  • 2 yrs straight with 68 games played. Yet to play 82. 41-41-42 in his last 3 years. I had high hopes for Gagner but based on those numbers he is nothing but consistent and my hope is dwindling fast. The problem is unless he is contributing on the scoreboard, he isn’t contributing at all.

  • Ender

    D-Man wrote:

    I can see Souray being bought out and signed for $2.0 to $2.5 million elsewhere

    29 teams recently passed on Souray at $2.25M. Only one team (the Rangers) even bother to send a scout to look at him. I’m curious as to why you feel that would change in the offseason.

  • dangersuede

    I think that if ganer cant produce and compete harder with hemsky and smyth on his wings, well, he might not be what we all hope.

    I am interested to see what all the young non stars will do at training camp for forward. Hartikanen, Vande Velde, Lander, and OMara. Could make for an interesting bottom six.

  • D-Man

    I don’t think RNH should play in the NHL next year. The guy needs time to develop physically. I would also make him do a year in OKC to learn how to play against men.

    His long term success is dependent on learning how to avoid hits, especially along the boards. Even if he gets up to 185, he is still a very skinny guy, and he will get hurt if he gets caught with his head down or takes big hits in the corners.

    With concussions on the radar, soon we could see guys losing their careers after 4-5. Things are changing.

    There is no need to rush him, it’s not like we’re in the playoff hunt. There is only downside to having him on the team too soon. Think Gagner, Brule.

    • So you think it should take the 1st overall pick in this draft 3 years to make it to the NHL? I think you’ll be in for a shock when you find out that these players are generally good enough to play in the NHL right away for a reason.

      Everyone in the NHL can get hurt if they get caught with their head down. Everyone.

      Comparing the 1st overall pick to Gagner or Brule completely ignores the fact that neither of those players were considered the most elite talent amongst their peers.

      If RNH is not an Oiler with 2 years he will be skirting the “Bust” category. Hell, if he isnt on the team this year he will be the first forward chosen 1st overall to fail at making an NHL club since Modano. That should raise eyebrows. We should be hoping to our respective gods that he’s good enough to make the NHL this year.

    • Mantastic

      1st. RNH can’t play in OKC next year.

      2nd. no matter what size you are, if you take a hit with your head down or take a big hit in the corner, you will be hurt, regardless of size

      3rd. there are guys in the NHL now that are smaller then RNH. what RNH brings to the table does not require size to contribute.

      4th. if he proves himself out of camp that he can play with the big guys, i think he should play on the team.

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      no way, i see a piece of the dead horse that hasnt been beat yet right over there —->.

      if you have trouble seeing it, you will find it tucked behind that old analbead award madjam tried to give out a while ago

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    I get what your saying. Yet shouldn’t the decision be made based on whether he’s ready or not? Would you risk ruining his career just because every one else goes straight in?

    I’m not going to check, but has there ever been a guy this small taken first? That would change things a bit. He has a teenager’s build not an adult’s.

    I want to see him play, but not if it means he picks up a concussion or two learning how the league works. He could get hurt anywhere, but there is a big difference between an NHL defenceman and a WHL defencemen, in size, speed, and aggression, especially when you’re under 180 lbs.

    Don’t forget Omark is 24 and has been pro for years already in 3 leagues if you’re going to pull that card out.

    • Kane in the April Rankings of the NHL Central Scouting report 2007 was listed as 5’9.5″ and 160 lbs. Very small. He recorded 72 points in his rookie season.

      I’m not saying RNH has to make the Oilers out of the gate, but if he has to spend time in the AHL after exhausting his years of eligibility in the WHL then the kid is a bust.

      • I think Kane and RNH would be the smallest. If RNH can evade people like Kane I’ll be better with him in sooner.

        I just don’t want to see him getting knocked around like Gagner who is 15 lbs heavier and a couple inches shorter – a lot more stout.

        If RNH is ready after next year great. I just REALLY don’t want them to push him, which they said they wouldn’t. And they shouldn’t let him go in early just because he wants to.

        I might have trust issues with the Oilers management.

  • Sox and Oil

    In other news…

    Pitkanen re-upps in Carolina 3 years $4.5per, I wish we still had him instead of JV.

    Tyler Kennedy will be UFA on the 1st, should he come over for 2 years $3 or $3.5 per?

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F


    We have to get some size. Kennedy is pretty good but he’s smaller than Gagner.

    Somebody has to stick up for the tiny men who are meant to score goals.

    I don’t want to see Hall geting run because JFJ Storts (not that he helped much) and SMac are gone.

    I think Eager is a goof, but he is a legit 4th liner and 230 lbs of fury.

  • Terran

    I’m not too sure where all this talk about whether RNH should be in the NHL or not next year is coming from. No one has said he won’t be. ST said it’s not a necessity that he play on the team next year. That (to me) does not mean that he won’t. It just means they’re not going to push him. If he shows he’s ready, he’ll play.

    As for landing a big fish on July 1st, why? I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not expecting a playoff push till the 12-13 season. The purpose of free agency this year should be to plug a few holes-get a decent defenseman (5-6 slot) and a 4th line center, and maybe a bit of grit. In my opinion, there is absolutely no reason that we should be going out and signing a big name contract at this point, unless it’s a steal.

    The focus this year should be about grooming the youngsters, improving the teams play, and putting a few winning streaks together. Anyone who thinks they should be pushing for the playoffs this year is not thinking rationally (again, in my opinion).

  • D-Man

    I would wait a second before sending RNH back to Red Deer. Let’s have this discussion Thursday, October 27, after he’s played 9 games in the bigs and the decision has to be made. My money is on him staying.

  • Sox and Oil




    I said WHL then OKC. OK that’s going to be too slow for everyone. I still think one more year isn’t a bad idea in the WHL.

    It also gives us a bit of breathing room on the ELC.

    @ Arch guy

    I get your points, but RNH is really not considered in the same class as Kane, Hall, the big centres that have gone first.

    That’s ok, he is who he is, who cares if he needs an extra year, even if it kills the fans waiting, if he ends up a better player.

    Knowing the Oilers he’ll start in the Hat and be on the team by Christmas. And he’ll be the only C standing by Feb.


    And we’ll draft a guy named Nail #1, he sounds tough. We’ll still beat the Canucks 3 out the last 4 meetings.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Came across this in my travels today, thought it was interesting. Any merit to Florida sending Stephen Weiss(2 yrs @ 3.1 per) to the Oilers for Shawn Horcoff and a third in 2012? Is Florida in tough to make it to the cap floor?

    • fuck off

      I think that idea but will leave it up to the guys who make a living following the game to debate and decide if it’s a good trade.

      Dunno if the Puddy’tats want that many years of cap hit that comes with Horc’s monster contract. Or if they are willing to pick up a worse player for just a 3rd rounder.

    • Ehrhoff is great if you are looking for a d-man who always screws his partner over and who doesn’t understand the concept of actually trying to stop the other team from scoring. He should go to Washington!

  • justDOit

    Laich just re-signed with Wash – 6 yrs/ $27 Mill, so I think that’s the only part of the dead horse that hasn’t been beat.

    Let’s go see what Mr. Staples has written today…

    • justDOit

      Buffalo has a new owner, and is willing to spend to win, so I don’t see them jettisoning talent for contract reasons.

      But yes, Gaustad is a big, mean HOCKEY player – something that’s been missing from the Oilers for a while.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    @ D-Man. I love how you arbitrarily decide what players are worth. What on earth would make you think Smyth is ‘worth’ 2.5 million? That’s really where your take falls down, you seem to have no clue what value NHL teams actually put on certain skill sets. Take a peak at what 25/50 guys with access to the open market (ie UFA’s) get paid. You’ll find very, very few that are paid 2.5 million.